Last Saturday, January 18th, Livingston Taylor played in bucolic Wendell, Massachusetts, at their monthly fund-raising Full Moon Coffee House. The day had been snowy off and on, my boyfriend and I wondering if the event would be cancelled, or if we should attempt the winding back-road drive in the now heavy-falling snow, but it was so worth the risk getting there and back!
Taylor’s voice is higher toned, although of similar timbre or resonance as his older brother, James’ – but Livingston has a playfulness and sardonic sense that’s evident in his music and story-telling. He grabs your attention from the start and holds it to the end through his self-effacing stage presence and excellence. Whatever talent he defers to his older brother, he has himself, regardless of public acclaim differences.
The show opened with Carrie Ferguson playing the piano and singing several of her songs with her lilting, tremolo, vocals and sweet sound. Taylor took a few moments after her performance saying that’s a tough act to follow, and then continued with ‘notice how I’m standing here, waiting for the memory of what you just heard to fade. I’ll give it a few minutes more.’
From that opening, to his songs such as Life Is Good, Never Lose Hope, Pajamas, I Will Be In Love With You, Everybody’s Just Like Me, and several more entrancing tunes, he wove stories, and musical history through a magical hour and a half, bringing us snippets of Yip Harburg’s pop song work, who was inspired by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert, and Harburg inspired others such as Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart, who also clearly enthralled Livingston Taylor, informing his musicality and love of music history.
Livingston Taylor teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and his performance made me want to take his classes, and become the best musician I can be. I bought his book: Stage Performance, and asked him to sign it for me, to which he readily obliged. When asked to whom he should address it, I said ‘to Jerri, and add how wonderful it is to meet me, and what a great time we’ve had…’ His droll smile illuminated his face as he penned: “Wow! What a time! To Jerri, Livingston Taylor” I’m most pleased that I made him smile.
Taylor’s performance closed with his sweet rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, to which we all joined in, and it was a truly lovely ending to a superbly entertaining show.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.